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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-03-31

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Gov't defends new tax package, points directly to 'inherited deficit' of 6.1%

  • [01] Gov't defends new tax package, points directly to 'inherited deficit' of 6.1%

    The government on Wednesday stoutly defended its decision -- announced a day earlier -- to raise VAT rates (by 1 percent) and taxes on cigarettes and alcohol, pointing directly to a massive deficit officials say was inherited from the previous PASOK government.

    "The government was called on to face problems that had been accumulated by its predecessors, and it chose the policy of a mild adaptation, something it announced from the very first," government spokesman Thodoris Roussopoulos told reporters, while again referring to the "non-shock" economic policies the Karamanlis government has repeatedly cited since assuming power a year ago.

    "The fiscal audit recorded dramatically negative results, and this government was obliged to deal with a deficit of 6.1 percent ... this difference, roughly eight billion euros, which was either due to under-estimation or hidden deficits, must be covered," Roussopoulos, who is also the Minister of State, said.

    Moreover, the spokesman downplayed the prospect of increased tax evasion, saying the government is "conveying" a message of strict fines and increased market checks.

    "It is not pleasant to take measures that burden the Greek citizen -- thankfully in the least possible degree -- however, this is the truth (regarding the deficit), one known to our European partners," Roussopoulos added.

    In reaction to Tuesday's announcement, 34 main opposition PASOK deputies on Wednesday tabled a Parliament question towards the development minister charging increased inflation, reduction in consumers' buying power, and what they termed the retail market's "asphyxiation".

    (Caption: Minister of State and government spokesman Thodoris Roussopoulos is shown in a file photo)


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